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hobbies stop to facilitate contact??

  • hattiedaw
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08 Aug 12 #348080 by hattiedaw
Topic started by hattiedaw
Background: Child not had over night contact for several years with NRP. NRP was the one who stopped the overnight contact (due to move to other side of country by him, not by RP).
NRP self employed, has evaded CSA payments for years.
NRP now has proper "job".
Has now started to see child regularly, days out etc.
RP knows that the increased contact is only because NRP now has job and so wants to decrease amount of CSA to be paid by increasing time spent with children. Devious motive but one RP has gone along with.
During the time of no overnight contact (over 2 years) 1 of the children was asking RP for music lessons. RP saved for instrument and and child was put on waiting list for lessons. Lesson slot became available on a Saturday and child has been having and enjoying the lessons for 9 months now.
NRP has said that when overnight visits are reinstated (in September aparently as he is going on holiday abroad with the new family 1st) that child will have to stop Saturday music lessons. RP feels this is unfair. She has suggested that NRP collects child from music school after lesson on Saturday and returns home Sunday night. RP says absolutely not.
RP also says he wants shared care but lives a 3 hour+ drive away so how would this be possible? When he says shared care he''s meaning 50 / 50 (all CSA payment avoidance). RP has said 50 / 50 isnt possible as he moved so far away. He wouldnt be able to share simple things like taking to docs, dentist, brownies etc, midweek overnights etc etc).
So, any advice on what can be done here?
RP has offered every other Saturday lunchtime (after music lesson) til Sunday eve and half of school hols. RP kicking up a fuss.
Realistically if NRP took RP to court saying he wanted 50 / 50 care living a 3 hour drive away what''s the likely outcome?
Oh and music school have no weektime slots at present and a big waiting list for them, nor will they accept the child having lessons every other Saturday.
Child in question really enjoys the lessons although RP feels child may be able to be swayed by NRP in favour of treats into saying she doesnt want music lessons anymore.
Any help gratefully appreciated.
Thank you.

  • u6c00
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08 Aug 12 #348090 by u6c00
Reply from u6c00
hattiedaw wrote:

Realistically if NRP took RP to court saying he wanted 50 / 50 care living a 3 hour drive away what''s the likely outcome?

Almost certainly no chance.

Significant distance doesn''t have to be a barrier to shared residence, but it would be a barrier to 50/50 shared care.

By this I mean that shared residence can mean the child spends any amount of time with the two parents, so long as the parents can agree to call it shared residence instead of contact. I have been told that there have even been arrangements where shared residence comprises 2 hours per week.

Obviously in this case the NRP couldn''t do the school run each morning and it isn''t good for the children to attend two different schools.

NRP could pursue a shared residence order which would be less than 50/50 shared care, for example 50/50 in the holidays with alternate weekends in term time, or any other arrangement.

What is the proposed overnight contact? Is the NRP expecting to have alternate Friday - Sunday? if that''s the case and what you''ve said about the CSA is true he will be unwilling to change to Saturday - Sunday because it won''t give him enough nights to qualify for the discount (minimum 52 per year).

Why is the PWC agreeing to overnights being reinstated? Is it because the NRP has decided to resume the contact ordered by the court? If so, and it hasn''t been kept to for several years, the PWC could apply to vary the contact order and ask for the matter to be referred to mediation.

  • hattiedaw
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08 Aug 12 #348102 by hattiedaw
Reply from hattiedaw
Thanks very much for answering.
I''ll try and answer your questions:
There is no court arrangement in place for contact, never has been.
NRP is a bully, has always dictated contact in all honesty RP is quite frightened of him as he comes out with things like "as we dont have a residence agreement I could just keep the children" etc.
He has dictated all contact and regularity of contact since he left. RP has never Pprevented contact. RP''s new family (can they still be called new after 5 years? :)) take precident over all contact with the children he has with RP. For example, since getting this job he''s been seeing the children weekly. The RP said when he decided to reinstate contact that he wasnt to let them down again and so he must be sure he wanted contact etc as RP didnt want kids messed about again etc. So, NRP has been on 5 visits now over 5 consecutive weeks and RP thought things were going well til RP drops bombshell that there will be no contact after next week for 3 weeks as he''ll be abroad with wife and his other children.
RP cannot afford to go to court.
NRP has said that his "goal" in the long term is to have the children living with him.
They have lived with RP for 5 years since NRP left for the OW and RP has provided for them on her own...financially, mentally, materially etc.
RP thinks it unfair that in effect he''s using kids as a way to save money.
RP wants (to start with he says, planning to increase although we dont know how!): alternate Friday after school til Sunday evening and half school holidays. RP has said that Saturday after music lesson (lunchtime) til Sunday eve and half of holidays. She feels that regardless of the music lesson situation that a 3 hour drive after a week at school is too much for the children who are still very young.
Thank you.

  • happyagain
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08 Aug 12 #348126 by happyagain
Reply from happyagain
I don''t think there''s a chance of 50/50 care but shared residence may be possible. This wouldn''t affect his maintenance payments though, he will still have to contribute towards the children''s care when they are not with him, even with a shared residence order!
On a personal level, my ex has just moved 100+ miles away. My daughter has always done an activity on a Saturday, her dad used to take her to these, but this has now stopped. I am hoping to get her lessons reinstated during the week eventually but I sincerely believe that contact with her dad is more important than a swimming lesson. I am also trying to move her music lesson from Friday to midweek so dad can pick her up a bit earlier. In the long run, it is better for my daughter''s well-being that she spends time with her dad/step-mum/half-brother than attending a club that she may well tire of in a few years.
I can also say that, although dad may be saving money in what he pays to the PWC, he will not be saving money in the long run! Children need feeding, entertaining and clothing so dad will still have to put his hand in his pocket. Plus the cost of the petrol!

  • TBagpuss
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08 Aug 12 #348134 by TBagpuss
Reply from TBagpuss
Are you the RP?

I would sugegst that you put something in writing setting out what you are proposing:

Saturday lunchtime to Sunday evening (at a time allowing for the children to go to bed at a time suitable for getting up for school in the morning) in alternate weeks.

Set out when you propose this starts - focus on the children''s needs, not his. If he is going away for 3 weeks it would probably be sensible to have another week or two at the curent level of contact before increasing it, for instance.

In terms of the music lessons, I think the sensible thing to do is to put child on the waiting list for weekday lessons and put in your letter to him that you are willing to review the aranegments to look at contact increasing to start on Friday as soon as child gets to the top of that waiting list.

Keep a copyof the letter, so there is no dispute over what your proposals were, and so you can show that you have been making reasonable efforts.

It would also be reasonable to look ofr other options - is there a different teacher in the area who could teach on a week day, for instance?

Given the long period without contact, I don''t think it is unreasonable to start with Sat-Sun and mve from there - long term, it isn''t reaonable for hobbies to restict contact too much, but I think if you are able to show that you are taking all reasonable steps to address the conflict then a court is unlikely to say child should stop the lessons immediately. They might say it would be reasonable for you o have found a different teacher at the next natuarl break - for instance,by the en of aschool year, or after child takes his next music exam.

''Shared Residence'' does not autopmatically mean 50/50. If he lives 3 hours drive away then 50/50 clearly won''t be in the children''s interests as there is no way he could get them to and from school without exhausting them. In fact 3 hours each way is sufficiently fr that the travelling may be too tiring for the children in any event, in term time - I have been dealing with a a csae where the childnre have a Guardian involved and the Guardain has said that because of the 3 hour drive to NRP''s home, fortnightly contact in term time is too much, and that maybe one contat in each half term, plus extra ocontact in half terms and holidays is more appropriate as it gives the childnre better quality time and is less tiring. The Guaridan was clear however that this is dependent on the specific children involved - for instance - do they sleep in the car? do they get travel sick? how reliable is dad regrding timekeeping? How tired do the children get after contact?

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